Two pistols owned by Napoleon − with which he once intended to kill himself after the defeat of his army in 1814 − have been sold at auction for €1.69m, the BBC reports.

Napoleon later gave the pistols to his squire Armand de Caulaincourt, who, learning of the emperor’s plans, removed the powder from the guns. Though Napoleon took poison instead, he survived. De Caulaincourt passed the famous weapons on to his descendants.

The pistols, created by the Paris gunmaker Louis-Marin Gosset, were sold at the Osenat auction house on Sunday, which is next to the Fontainebleau palace where Napoleon tried to take his own life, following his abdication in 1814.

The pistols’ sale comes after France’s culture ministry recently classified them as national treasures and banned their export.

This means the French government now has 30 months to make a purchase offer to the new owner, who has not been named. It also means the pistols can only leave France temporarily.

The guns are inlaid with gold and silver, and feature an engraved image of Napoleon himself in profile.